Anti-anxiety medication prescriptions have spiked 34% during the coronavirus pandemic

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

The coronavirus is taking a toll on mental health.

The number of prescriptions for antidepressant, anti-anxiety and anti-insomnia medications filled per week increased 21% between Feb. 16 and March 15, 2020, according to a new report by Express Scripts, a Cigna-owned CI, +5.43% pharmacy benefit manager. The study analyzed prescription claims filled between Jan. 19 and March 15 of this year among a sample of more than 31.5 million commercially-insured individuals, and found that claims peaked during the week ending March 15, when the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 was declared a pandemic.

Anti-anxiety drugs saw the biggest spike, jumping 34.1%, which was more than double the number of insomnia aids (14.8%), and almost twice as high as antidepressants (18.6%).

Related:Suffering insomnia over the coronavirus? Having strange dreams? Here’s what to do

Express Scripts noted that this is a sharp u-turn from the 12.1% decline in the use of anti-anxiety meds like Pfizer’s PFE, -0.26% Xanax and Roche’s RHHBY, 2.87% Valium that it recorded between 2015 and 2019, as well as the 11.3% decline in the use of anti-insomnia meds during that same window.

“This analysis, showing that many Americans are turning to medications for relief, demonstrates the serious impact COVID-19 may be having on our nation’s mental health,” the report concluded.

It’s the latest in a series of recent warnings about the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on the public’s psychological health.

More than 4 in 10 Americans are feeling lonelier now than ever before as a result of social distancing during the coronavirus outbreak, according to a survey of 1,055 people commissioned by the University of Phoenix published this week. More than one in five people (22%) also say their sleep quality has suffered since the coronavirus spread. Recent findings from the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index also revealed that some 35% of Americans said their mental health had worsened during the pandemic, and 43% said their emotional well-being had also gotten worse.

Read more:‘We can get through this’: How to manage your mental health during the coronavirus pandemic

That’s not surprising considering more than 20 million Americans are out of work as non-essential businesses have temporarily closed, and COVID-19 cases have surpassed more than 2 million worldwide, with more than 137,000 deaths and climbing (although more than 525,000 have also recovered.)

America was already in the grip of a loneliness epidemic and a mental health crisis even before the COVID-19 outbreak hit. Almost one in five U.S. adults reported experiencing a mental health condition in 2018, and the teen suicide rate climbed more than 50% over the past decade. Mental health conditions cost the health care system more than $200 billion a year, making it one of the country’s most expensive health conditions. They also lead to more than $193 billion in lost earnings per year.

Stay up to date with MarketWatch’s coronavirus coverage here. 

Originally Published on MarketWatch

Home of Science
Follow me

Latest posts by Home of Science (see all)
- Advertisement -

Discover

Sponsor

Latest

The NFL is About to Become a National Game

The NFL is About to Become a National GameAs the Super Bowl approaches, there are two teams to be mentioned. One is the...

Nearly 40% of the economy may vanish in Q2 because of COVID-19, but then do something surprising

The S&P 500 has crossed the 3,000 level again and investors are clearly riding high on hope for a second half economic recovery post...

Coronavirus erases almost all the 23 million new jobs created since the Great Recession

It took 10 years for the U.S. economy to create 23 million new jobs. It took the coronavirus pandemic just a month to destroy...

US payrolls plunge 701,000 in March amid the start of a job market collapse

KEY POINTS Nonfarm payrolls in March fell by 701,000 and the unemployment rate rose to 4.4%. The numbers just begin to capture the beginning...

‘It’s a complete abomination’ says Wall Street money manager about hedge funds applying for bailouts from small-business recovery funds

Tha’s Nate Koppikar, a partner at Orso Partners, as quoted in a Bloomberg News article on Tuesday expressing his displeasure with the prospect of hedge funds...
Home of Science
Follow me
Latest posts by Home of Science (see all)